Market surveillance (products) (Ofer Abarbanel online library)

Market surveillance for products ensures that products on the market conform to applicable laws and regulations. This helps foster trust from consumers buying products or financial services. It also protects consumers or professionals from harm from non-compliant products. It helps companies that comply to stay in business and do not want to lose market share to rogue traders.[1]


In the European Union, member states are responsible for market surveillance. Any action taken regarding product safety for consumer products and other regulations for professional products is done under the hat of the European Commission regulations.[2] Regulation 765-2008 applies to consumer products and regulation 882-2004 applies to food products. At the European Union level, three Directorates General are in charge: Health and consumers, Enterprise[3] and Customs. The European Free Trade Alliance is putting efforts in market surveillance.[4]

Prosafe for consumer products ( Regulation 765-2008)

Prosafe is an organization thaw helps European Market Surveillance authorities cooperate. The European Commission financially supports its activities. Prosafe is active in training and facilitating communication between Member States and also does Joint Actions (JA) that assemble Member States to control the same products at the same period, like lighters,[5] lawnmowers or sunbeds.[6]


For consumer goods, an information system about dangerous goods has been set up, called RAPEX.[7] Every week, products that were voluntarily recalled or banned by authorities are listed. RAPEX is one element of the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) that ensures a high level of protection of consumers by stating key safety elements.[8]


The Administrative Cooperation Group. Representatives of Member States meet to exchange information and discuss implementation issues. The European Commission is also present. ADCO groups discuss specific laws like PED[9] or EMC Electro Magnetic Compatibility [10] and also LVD.[11]

CE Marking – within Europe most products are required to bear a CE mark. This is a self-certification achieved by complying with the appropriate Directive. The mark ensures that a product is safe from a variety of hazards. A specific individual bears legal responsibility for the mark and the compliance of the product.


European industry is asking for more market surveillance, from companies[12] or industry associations.[13] Market surveillance and border controls are essential to fulfill policy goals such as health and safety, environmental protection and level playing fields among economic operators.

If market surveillance fails, non-compliant products circulate and pose risks to end-users. Moreover, lawful manufacturers face unfair competition from rogue traders who do not invest in product compliance and traceability, who add between 2% to 25% to product costs (depending on product category). It is estimated that a high percentage of cases of non-compliance in certain product categories discredit all products of this kind, even the compliant ones.[14]

An industry support platform was launched in 2011. Its web-platform is designed to serve as a resource database of technical documents from European machinery industries. Information is available by sector and is made available in multiple languages. In addition, the website is enriched with testimonials and any other relevant information market surveillance.

European machinery industries that link in this initiative show firm commitment to help improve market surveillance for capital goods. This voluntary initiative can be seen as complementary to governmental efforts under the EU’s new legislative framework for the marketing of products. It testifies to the commitment of industry to help maintain high levels of health, safety and environmental standards and ensures a level playing field in the single market.[15]


European customs are now more involved in market surveillance. Regulation 768-2008 offers guidelines for more efficient protocols for products entering the European market.[16]

Lack of market surveillance

The lack of market surveillance has been pointed out by many players in Europe.[17] At the European Parliament many voiced concern about the risk posed to the single market because of the lack of market surveillance[18] Compliance is easy to check for products such as clothes, but industrial products may be difficult to check due to lack of time or lack of knowledge.


  1. ^Commissioner Kuneva. “market surveillance”.
  2. ^European Commission. “Market Surveillance”.
  3. ^European Commission. “Single market for goods Market surveillance”.
  4. ^ “Product Safety and Market Surveillance”.
  5. ^ “2009 Lighters 2”. Archived from the originalon 2012-11-18. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  6. ^European Commission. “Joint action on sunbeds 2008 2009” (PDF).
  7. ^European Commission. “RAPEX – Latest notifications”. Archived from the original on 2013-05-15.
  8. ^Eurlex EU. NOT “Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (Text with EEA relevance)” Check |url= value (help).
  9. ^European Commission. “Pressure equipment and gas appliances surveillance”.
  10. ^European Commission. “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) -Guidance”.
  11. ^European Commission, Enterprise DG. “Low Voltage Directive – ADCO”.
  12. ^Stråberg Electrolux, Hans. “Market surveillance benefits consumers and thereby the industry” (PDF).
  13. ^ “Efficient and effective Market Surveillance: a priority to preserve the benefits of the Internal Market and the competitiveness of legitimate manufacturers”.
  14. ^ “legitimate manufacturers benefit from improved product safety and market surveillance package”.
  15. ^ “Market Surveillance – Industry’s Support Platform”.
  16. ^Mynar, Libor. manager/files/4_PROSAFE_GA_Budapest-Guidelines_product_safety.pdf “Customs 2013 project”Check |url= value (help) (PDF).
  17. ^Jacob, Yvon (2012). En finir avec la mondialisation déloyale (PDF). La Documentation Française. p. 303.
  18. ^Banks, Martin. “Senior MEP Malcolm Harbour has called for a “clear political commitment” to complete the single market”. The Parliament magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-04-11.

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